Horse Whispering for Beginners
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Horse Whispering for Beginners


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Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Horse Whispering for Beginners

No, we didn’t just download the Robert Redford movie and take note of all his skills… Like you, we’re horse people, and spend all day around other horse people. We asked eight of our customers to give us their best tips on how to get a horse to relax. Here’s their responses:

Joe, 58, farrier

“In my line of work, it’s important that the horse is well-behaved for me. Make sure your horse is exercised, cooled off and fed before shoeing. If you need to hold your horse, stand at his shoulder, balance him, and give positive reinforcement when he’s doing the right thing. And listen to the farrier!”

Yazmine, 20, rider

“Watch out for what you’re doing as well. If you keep your thighs pressed really tight against the horse all the time, it won’t know when you’re trying to give it signals. So you’ve got to relax your muscles too.”

Dan, 44, trainer

“Watch for signs of emotion in your horse. When they’re anxious or nervous, they’ll have trouble standing still, and might engage in head tossing, nervous sweating, snorting or tail-swishing. These are signs you need to adjust what you’re doing. When your horse is relaxed, her ears will be floppy, eyes may be half-closed, lower lip and chin droopy, or just relaxing her neck.”

Bill, 60, farmer

“If you’re uncomfortable about being on a horse, he’ll know. Take five or six long, deep breaths before mounting. Focus on your own biorhythms – eventually you’ll be able to regulate your own breathing and pulse, and this can both relax you and distract you. Your horse won’t feel your anxiety, because there isn’t any!”

Jess, 44, vet

“If your horse is scared of clippers, you’ll need to gradually introduce them. Start by standing next to the horse, rest your hand on her withers, and just turn the clippers on. If you find she startles at that, turn them off and on again until she’s comfortable that the sound is not frightening. Let her sniff them (when they’re turned off); rub them on her (again, while they’re switched off) – just let her get used to them. Once you’ve built enough confidence in your horse, you’ll have no problems using the clippers. Just remember it’s a process.”

Sylvia, 65, horse riding instructor

“When you need to look at the hind foot, start up at the base of the tail, and rub your hand down the rump in a petting motion, moving down to the foot. The horse will enjoy the touch and should relax.”

Megan, 19, stablehand

“Warm up your horse by using a long rein. Let him walk around a bit while you’ve got plenty of give, until he feels comfortable enough to let you tighten it up.”

Nathan, 31, saddle fitter

“Concentration is the most important thing. When you’re saddling your horse, saddle your horse – don’t be doing too many things at once. It stresses the horse out, and when you’re not paying attention, you can make mistakes.”


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